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From the ‘Sword’ to Dialogue: Towards a ‘Dialectic’ Basis for Penal Mediation

Mannozzi, Grazia
June 4, 2015

Source: (2002) In, Elmar G.M. Weitekamp and Han-Jurgen Kerner, Restorative Justice: Theoretical Foundations. Deon, UK: Willan Publishing. Pp. 204-223.

As Grazia Mannozi observes, the longstanding traditional iconography of “justiceâ€? depicts justice as a female, often blindfolded, holding both a sword and scales. This is the case despite evolution over the centuries in the idea of justice and in the administration of justice (e.g., paradigms of trial and punishment). Mannozzi analyzes the elements of this depiction of justice, especially the symbol of the sword. While the sword signifies the power of the law, she speculates that it may also suggest the power to cut the “knotâ€? of disputes that cannot be settled through judicial resolution. With this symbolism in mind, she discusses the juridical and philosophical meaning and value of penal mediation. She does this by asking whether there are intractable controversies or whether every dispute can be settled through some form of mediation. Put another way, she asks whether mediation can overcome the authoritarian model of conflict resolution, which she sees as intrinsically and structurally violent.


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